IBM Chief Architect Office of the CTO
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Master's degree, Computer Science (focusing Data Science)
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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
How did I get here today? So I grew up in Miami, Florida. Um, very early on, I wanted to go to college, Right, Because I grew up in a family where, um, my parents only went to high school. So I was actually the first eso I ended up applying to ST John's University here in New York City on E got accepted. And so I chose to major in computer science eso I went there for four years. Eso that's my my whole story. It's the I would say that my story is more of the American dream right where I came from. Nothing. And and now here here I am. I mean, professional, right? So incidents and experiences that shaped my life. So when I first moved to New York back in 2000, I was 18 years old, right? So I kind of recall I used to live in Brooklyn and I used to catch one bus, no, three trains and one bus every day, each way to go to school and come back. I think that because I work hard and those four years were very, very hard, right being ah young student. I was only like 17 years old. But I persevere, right? So I never give up. So I think that, um if you if anybody can learn from this experience, is this if you put your mind to it And if you decide to become if you are determined to be successful, then that sky is the limit.

What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? What are the top three priorities? What are weekly work hours like?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
I'm going to start with my job. So I made chief chief architect at IBM for for cloud. Right? So my big, pretty much role is this right? Eyes to speak with customers high end into the enterprise world right where it be, uh, large banks, insurance firms, Um, s O My goal is to pretty much go out and speak with their sitios on all of the offerings that we have, right pretending to cloud right, because now we are moving into the cloud world, right? So? So if you're talking about the world of technology today, right, so we have cloud big data. We have security and develops. So that's those are the things that I do on a regular basis, Uh, top three priorities. It's really to sell. Tell the IBM story, and then, of course, make money. Right. So So these are the things that that bring me joy. Okay. And weekly work hours, um, currently because of the cove in 19 cases right now, I'm currently working from home. I make my own schedule kind off. If I have meetings typical week. I don't want the typical 40 hour week because it's fluctuates, right? If I have a client calls here and there. You know, it depends. I would say my with ours kind of depends sometimes more, sometimes less that

What are major challenges and pain points in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in overcoming them? Discussing examples will help students learn better.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
I think that the major challenges for my job is that, um um Now, I am positioning the IBM public cloud. Right? Andi, I am competing against the Valley of the Beast. You know, azure, and it'll be us. So as the IBM cloud, I mean, we are picking up a lot of steam because we pretty much required, uh, red hat. Right. And And we are sort of leveraging that to get us into the marketplace, right? Because, um adieu and it'll be us. I mean, they were there, like, way before we did, right? And then now we are Customers are starting to notice what we can do, right? And I think that my approach is well on the messaging. We are tailoring the messaging. Like I think more towards develops how we can help customers in that has a develop shop, right? Uh, couple with the red hat products with Lennox with with open shift right to give developers a platform where they can actually develop their their application on top of kubernetes and doctor. I mean, that's the message that we're trying thio convey to our clients. Um discussing help example will help students learn better um, I think that in terms of, um, I think to me, it's almost like you have to learn your craft, right? Make sure that whatever you put your mind to it, you'll be the best at it. Right. Um, and now in the technology world is so vast, you know, there's different to me. I feel like students should focus on four things. Number one is big data. The reason being is this big data is changing our world on the data data, right. The other one is Cloud Cloud Cloud is there to actually stay right? It will not go nowhere. Right? So you go, You're gonna have customers that are gonna move their workload or data toe to the cloud. Third is security. You need security because you want your data, Thio be secure. Right. Um, fourth develops. Nowadays, we are focusing more on the on the application side more than anything else. So developers are you toe toe, actually stay. I mean, these are like the four paths, and I see that's gonna be fiving your, uh yes,

What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) are typically used in a role like yours?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
are. Well, I don't use these. I don't use any framework. So for programming languages, But I actually do it because I'm I'm currently seeking my master's in computer science. Yeah, I do. Ah, a little bit of Python JavaScript here and there. But it's cool. It's strictly school related, right? In my current world role. Uh, at IBM, it's more of a solution. Selling skills has nothing to do with anything else because, like, I deal more with people and I don't deal with the developers much, and the people I deal with are on like the higher end. They don't do coding or anything like that. It's all about solution ing right?

What are the job titles of people who someone in your role routinely works with, within and outside of the organization? What approaches are effective in working with them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
the titles are outside Is CEOs directors of I t the CEO CSOs, um, within other chief architects Or the clouds cloud sales people, um, distinguished engineer and and and IBM fellows, Uh, these are, like the top notch guys that, like we have, Um the next question was what approaches are, um, in working with them. Okay, I think working with people is great because you get to learn from them. Ah, you know, I don't know it. All right. So you have to be open to criticism. You have to be open to learning, and you and you have to be open to sharing what you actually know, right? And And this is why, um, I moved from from, like, being from, like, a back end guy to like, the front end, because I really like to mingle with people and talk to people

How would you describe your management style? How has it evolved over the years? Can you tell about experiences or books that influenced your management style?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
I don't particularly manage people now, um, but prior to that measuring star is more like to me, it's more like I don't expect you. I'm not micromanaging people because I expected to do your job, right. Being a supportive manager. Meaning that, you know, if if you want to go above and beyond, if you want to set set your career on a path, I mean, it could actually help you. Right? Um, And if you want to succeed, uh, in whatever you are set to do, that's what I'm here to actually do, right? As far evolved. I've seen in 19. About 16 years. Now, um, you know, I've come from the bottom and go to the very top. Right? So, uh, experiences books influence, Imagine style off have none at the moment. I think as a manager, you have tow. You kind of have to feel, you know, you can't. It's something that you gotta feel. It's not something that you have learn from anybody, because you you gonna develop your own style, right? So mm.

How do you manage conflicts within and across teams? How do you promote trust, openness and a healthy work culture? Sharing stories will greatly help.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
It's funny that I was in a conflict album a few years ago when I was working at Centurylink, where I had a corker of mine. Um, when I was first hired, right. Hey, was thinking that I was gonna I was supposed I was the cloud guy, right? So when I came in, he felt kind of kind of a way that I'm I'm thinking his spot And he was very rude to me, you know? So what I did is one time I just approached him and I was like, you know, a you know, instead of you thinking that I'm this cloud guy, why don't we collaborate together and partner, And so so I can help you learn cloud and and we can do it together. And that kind of build the trust that he had in me because often times people feel like friends. What they don't have to so I think, is like making making them feel comfortable saying that. You know, I'm not here to take your job. You know it, Z, I'm here to partner with you, you know

How can one get better recognition of work from one's boss and higher management? What mistakes should one avoid? Stories or examples will be quite helpful.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
think that to me is oh, the only you have to work hard. You have to be diligent, and you just have to go above and beyond. And don't be afraid to ask questions, right? Missed a cue. Should one should avoid, uh, mistakes are gonna happen, right? So I don't know if it's unavoidable, but I think the best answer is that is how do you learn from from it? Um Can can build you up, right? Yeah, for for instance, I did something. I went to do a project a long time ago, and I made a mistake, and it was not huge, but, you know, but my boss talk to me, right? He was like, you know, sentence that. And I told him I'm gonna work extra hard, so I won't do that again. So it's it's really learning from what you did and can help you bounce back right?

What skills and qualities do you look for while hiring? What kind of questions do you typically ask from candidates?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
that. You know, um us, us, us that I am it. It is more like, um, understanding your skill set. And it's more about where you want to be and how you see yourself, right? I think these are And then the culture fit is important, right? I think those are the questions that we really look Thio Thio to ask for me personally, I don't I think any skill set can be thought, right. Anybody that you can walk in and somebody can teach you the job. But the difference is that how can you interact with people? These are the skill set that cannot be thought right, Look.

Can you discuss career accomplishment(s) that you feel good about? Please discuss the problem context, your solution, and the impact you made.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
one of my biggest accomplishment was, um I was at a customer site and and a person had fat finger than deleted 40 terabytes of data. And the customer was actually a high end customer here in New York City and help help actually retreat most of the data. The customer on only those 200 Meg. So that's one of my biggest accomplishment because my company could have gotten sued and they actually did not Andi until till this day. I have yet to see anybody that has accomplished anything quite like this before. Yeah.

What responsibilities and decisions did you handle? What were the top three priorities and pain points? What strategies were effective in dealing with challenges?

Based on experience at: Solution Engineer, Qwest Communications
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
to be our century. So essentially, like I was a solution engineer in charge of managed services. So what we did a lot is we built a lot of private cloud from from customers from layer one through seven. Meaning that, you know, we installed the virtualization, the servers storage the security around it. Andi, the application. You know, single databases. If a customer has a pretty application, we managed the whole that, um the pain points with that exist, um, when manage services were great. But the problem is when cloud was introduced when cloud was introduced, our business was impacted because customers were not looking to look for a service provider for to buy servers and manage it for them. Because with cloud, it's pay as you go. It's on hourly basis, and and there's no often time. There's no contract, right? So and you have a portal. It could do anything yourself. Everything is the automation, you know. So that really impacted us quite a bit. And and and then we, um and these were the challenges. These were the pain points that we dealt with. And then we try to build our own cloud, and we were not successful. So So, as you can see across the board, I mean, um, a lot of custom. The only customers that are still skeptical about the clouds are financial cost, but everybody else is actually doing it. So that was the problem with that century, like, Yeah, okay.

What college programs did you attend and what were their best parts? How did each of your college programs prepare you for your career?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
um I went to ST John's University, Uh, did computer science. Um, and right now I'm at the University of Illinois. Urbana. Shame. Champagne. Um, my master's in computer science. I don't know what Illinois is has done for me thus far because I'm so deep into my career. But ST Johns did definitely help me, um, get my first job because it waas on a career site that I got my first job within ST John's, right? So I think the classes were great. Um, and and I think so the relationships that I built when I was on campus kind of really help me or prepared because I don't have anybody to actually teach me, You know, a once you get into the couple of world, this is what it's gonna look like.

What three life lessons have you learned over your career? If any, please also discuss your experiences facing adversity, or trying something unusual.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
life lessons. Three Life's lessons. Um, I think one of them it was when I was laid off from my first job when I was six months. Um, at the time it was post 9 11. And what jobs were very hard to get and everybody you were telling me, You know, you have to get You have to have experience. You have to have experience. I e think it's always hard when the new college student you get your first job and you have to build your career because getting another job would be very hard. Right? Um, second life lesson, I would say, definitely making that taking that leap of faith and coming to New York when I was 17 years old? Um, yeah. I mean, they don't say it much. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere else. And that's true. Uh huh. That's a big apple, right? Um so, to me, that was my dream. Um, another life lesson about career is if if none of the things that I've that happened in my past did not get me to where I am today, I definitely regret. I think that anything in life happened for a reason and and, you know, God sets you on on a path, right? So Okay. Yeah.

What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
think IBM as a great program for college kids Where you wanna if you are computer science finance. One of the major you are. I think they're pretty good at that. You know, we have a decent research program for kids, and we have also we partnered with the high school name P Tech. I think I detect There's a few of them along the East Coast where students can go in there and learn technical stuff. And once they're done, IBM is gonna recruit them. So I would definitely suggest students to look into, um into i into I BBM. Also, Google has a good program. Also Facebook. I think. I think if anybody can get an internship, if you are strictly a science computer science or electrical engineering computer engineering, I think those are the Those are the jobs that you should be looking for. And then also career wise is not everyone wants to be a developer. But if that's the path that you want, definitely work hard and practice on the skill set. All right? Ah, Uh huh.just keep on working hard and and ultimately is gonna pay off. Man, you just gotta be patient. Um, and and anything is possible. So Sky's the limit time.